Originally Published: June 2000
ALICE COOPER is one rock star for whom ageing looks are no problem.
The older he gets the more sinister he appears. The more evil he is the more his fans love him.
For 30 years he's creaked the boards of rock concerts world-wide, shocking the unwary with his horror pantomime, taking infamy wherever he played.
Last night's performance in Newport Centre proved the 52-year-old preacher's son is still the master of schlock rock.
The stage was strewn with waste from a future apocalypse - pods, burned-out cars, rubbish bins, skeletons and body parts in front of a futuristic cityscape projected onto the back wall.
A ten-foot robot introduced the show, warning of us of the coming onslaught and setting the scene nicely with lashings of irony.
His latest album, Brutal Planet, was aired almost entirely and the concert began with the title track.
But it was during the first oldie, Go to Hell, that the theatrics began, with the appearance of a PVC-clad babe gyrating on a raised platform. Alice climbed stairs to meet her, only to dispatch her from our sight with a hefty kick to the bottom.
It was fascinating watching him move to each line, every twist of his hand embellishing the nasty lyrics.
During Vicious Young Man, a track from Brutal Planet, a nurse walks on wheeling a pram, only to have Alice grab her by the scruff of the neck and shove her into the boot of a car.
Then he took the pram and rocked it gently back and forwards as he leered into the crowd singing Dead Babies.
From infanticide to insanity - Alice was suddenly grabbed by two masked men in black and strapped into a straight jacket as the opening chords of the Ballad of Dwight Fry struck.
Alice's favourite horror trick is on-stage decapitation which he received after escaping his "straight white vest." A brief rendition of I Love The Dead followed.
Three blinding classics closed the show: You Drive Me Nervous, School's Out and Poison, the latter of which was a hit and received the obligatory standing ovation.
A rousing encore of Billion Dollar Babies, and Elected ended a superb concert.
Newport won't see the showmanship of this standard for a very long time to come.